The October Country

October sky in Tahoe

Much has passed in the past week or so, the lost of a family member, a birthday and a trip to Yosemite to witness the passage of fall. I have much at work and at home with which to catch up and too little time to devote to processing the photographs I've collected, but I do have a time-lapse video composed of over 8,000 photographs taken in the throes of October amongst the skies of Lake Tahoe to share with you.

I shamelessly stole the title for this video from a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury (go out and pick it up if you are in a autumnal mood). You've already seen a few of the photographs I took in the twilight of Lake Tahoe. While I made those images (and more to be shared later), I set up to do a bit of time-lapse video. I was moved by the stormy and seething skies above the great alpine lake and decided to make a video to share the color and the mood of the October Country.

Creepy and sublime, the waxing and waning of the day gave perfect frame to the great, stormy spaces of the high country. I think video connects with memory in ways that still photography cannot (and visa versa). Here you and I can watch together as deep shades of early violet yield to the daystar and then again as all the shadows from underneath the granite and pines lengthen, grow and commune to brood darkness. I hiked in the blackness of cloudy and moonless nights to capture some of these images, fording mountain streams which turned from creeks to torrents and soaked me from toe to hip. A memory of the cold grip of snowmelt has been enough to keep me warm since.

For those who are interested, all these bits of time-lapse were produced by taking one photograph per second for 600 seconds and then turning each of those sequences into a 20-second snippet of video. The Nikon D700 (as well as the D300 and D3-series) has a built-in intervalometer which makes these time-lapse efforts really simple; although there are a lot of aftermarket intervalometer options available for nearly all camera set-ups if you have another camera. It is important to set your camera to manual mode to get an even exposure in every image, making the light levels in the video smooth and even. You'll notice that there are a few segments that have uneven exposures, resulting in "flashing" of the video. This sometimes occurs despite my setting the camera to manual and I am not yet sure what causes it - I took many of these using the Lo-1.0 ISO setting on my D700, and I wonder if the fact that that ISO value is "pulled" after capture isn't to blame. Oh well - more later, and enjoy.